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July 4th in Steamboat Springs

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado summer vacation

Burst into Rocky Mountain fun over July 4th

Explode into your family summer vacation with this alpine retreat in a historic town that’s tough to beat. An internationally known winter ski resort destination, Steamboat Springs, Colorado wrangles up summer fun too, especially around July 4th.

Watch the Pro-Rodeo by night, plus the Olympians competing in summer ski jumping by day at Howelsen Hill.

Do not miss the annual Independence Day parade downtown - your kids (and you!) will be wowed for days.

Hop on the gondola to the top of Mount Werner at Steamboat Resort for hiking or biking, then soak your weary bones in the Old Town Hot Springs, or float down the Yampa with a cold one.

Steamboat Springs has aimed to please since 1900. Here’s what not to miss in the summer when you bust into this town just shy of 13,000 inhabitants.


Steamboat Pro Rodeo

While the competitive roping and barrel racing is quite impressive, make sure you stay for both the Calf and Ram Scrambles, where elementary kids and little tykes scatter and clamber to be the first to grab the ribbon off the baby animal’s tail for a prize.

It’s a riot! And, you never know; the rodeo clown may wow you with some stunts of his own. Learn how to get tickets to the rodeo here.

Independence Day Parade

For over 100 years, Steamboat Springs has remembered Independence Day in legit western fashion.

Pro-tip: early in the morning, race down to Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat to save your parade watching spot with lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Then cheer on those strong men and women, young and old, in the Roller Ski Competition.

Next, look for all the local Olympians in the annual July 4th parade down Lincoln Avenue and snag so much candy you’ll have leftovers come Halloween.

Wrap up the morning by joining the old-fashioned community block party hosted by churches and vendors just a few street away. Cheap eats with good people.


Summer Ski Jumping on Howelsen Hill

Jumpin’ and Jammin’ with Olympians: check out this July 4th event back over at Howelsen Hill. Pull up a hay bale and cheer on some spectacular summer ski jumping (think wet turf in lieu of snow)!

Steamboat’s older, smaller ski hill, Howelsen Hill is known for it’s ski jumps and downhill runs that have paved the way for over 70 Olympians to compete on the world stage in alpine and Nordic events.

Fireworks Show

Most years, an impressive fireworks display over Howelsen Hill caps off Independence Day in Steamboat. Due to high fire danger, other night-time grand finales may take place in lieu of fireworks - like a laser show.

See what’s slated this year for July 4th festivities in Steamboat here.

Old Town Hot Springs

Cool off or heat up at the Old Town Springs. Perfect after a morning hike or bike ride. Plan to stay at least a half a day to really soak up your money’s worth.

Old Town Hot Springs is home to eight naturally fed hot spring pools, plus numerous fitness and aquatic programs. See daily admission prices here.


On the mountain: The Land Up

While known for being a winter ski destination, Steamboat Resort comes alive in the summer too. The Land Up offers the following amenities:

  • Scenic Gondola Ride, which leads to wonderful hikes and biking

  • Steamboat Bike Park - downhill riding only

  • Mountain Coaster

  • Tubing

  • Ropes Course

  • Bungee Trampolines

  • Walk on Water

  • Mini Golf Course

  • Kilimanjaro Climbing Wall

  • The Links Disc Golf Course

  • Burgess Creek and Beach Area

  • Movie Nights

Plan your time and find individual costs for activities at the Land Up here.


Tubing the Yampa in Steamboat

Tubing down the Yampa right through downtown Steamboat is a relaxing treat. Ask the locals how the river is running, and if it’s on the low side (typically later summer), just beware of bumps along the way.

Word to the wise: you don’t need to pay a local outfitter to float down the Yampa River, unless you prefer to travel light. Just go to the local Wal-Mart and pick up their Ozark Trail tubes. If you’re worried their shelves might be bare, pre-order these inexpensive tubes from Amazon and pack them for the trip.

The day of the float, grab some sunscreen, pack a picnic, pre-arrange a drop-off and pick-up sight if you can, and soak up some sun along the Yampa.


F.M. Light & Sons

You can’t miss their humorous, yellow signs on the way into Steamboat. Established in 1905, F.M. Light & Sons has been outfittin’ the West for over five generations.

If you’re needing some new cowboy boots or any kind of hat, traipse in here. You can also buy your Pro-Rodeo tickets here.

Eat BBQ at the Steamboat Smokehouse

A casual family-friendly BBQ joint that offers both indoor and outdoor seating, the Smokehouse easily tempts you to order an extra round and stay a while as you wrap up your impromptu corn-hole tournament. - 912 Lincoln Ave.


Ice cream stops

A summer vacation daily must, here are a couple of local places known for their refreshing cold treats:

  • Ciao Gelato

  • Lyon's Corner Drug & Soda Fountain

Where we’d stay

If you’re not lucky enough to have friends or family to crash with, consider the Steamboat Grand right by the mountain.

Vacation Home Rentals

Our pick for big families and often cheaper and with more amenities than a hotel, check out Steamboat Springs’ pretty fabulous list of vacation homes here:


Special thanks to our long-time sweet friend and host, Shannon of Lukens Mountain Media, and her family for sharing a memorable July 4th in Steamboat!

All pictures belong to Tanya Raedeke and may not be used without written permission.